Hello, I have a friend who is also Catholic and she insists that we ( Catholic’s) do not believe that we go to Heaven or Hell when we die but rather to a “holding area” where we are waiting for Armageddon. I was raised Catholic and also went to parochial school and have never heard this before.
What your friend told you is NOT Catholic teaching. There is, of course, the possibility of purgatory before heaven. But some people do go directly to heaven--certainly as in the case of martyrs. Our Lord told the 'good thief' the he would be in heaven that day (Luke 23:43).
Fr. Vincent Serpa, O.P.